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Man ordered to pay for torching neighbour's house

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14:14 CEST+02:00
A man from Borås in western Sweden who accidentally burned down his neighbour's house has been ordered to pay nearly 800,000 kronor ($132,000) in compensation and expenses.

The man had intended to burn away some withered grass on a hillside near the two houses, according to the Borås Tidningen (BT) newspaper.

As a precaution, he used a hose to wet down a 30-centimetre wide strip of land in order to contain the fire.

As it turned out, however, 30 centimetres was not enough to keep the flames from quickly jumping into his neighbour's yard.

Within minutes, the out of control blaze had engulfed his neighbour's house, which stood six metres away from the intended burn zone.

The Borås District Court at first acquitted the grass-burner from suspicions of negligence.

He also escaped having to pay his neighbour's insurance company because of conflicting views from two fire experts as to whether the house burned down due to carelessness, or whether it was simply an accident.

However, the insurance company pursued its case further at the Gothenburg Court of Appeals, which has now ruled the name behaved in a negligent manner.

In its judgment, the court found that a 30 centimetre wide buffer zone was insufficient, and that the man should have prepared a fire line at least two metres wide, as recommended by the Swedish Fire Protection Association.

The man must now pay 650,000 kronor in compensation for burning down the house, as well as 130,000 kronor to cover the insurance company's legal expenses.

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